- Jan 8, 2010 at 6:56 am #1253914
What footwear do you use when hiking long distance in sand?Jan 8, 2010 at 8:41 am #1560781
drowning in spamMember
All I can say is NOT to use Altama military desert boots. I used those for the Bataan Death March before and my feet were killing me. The entire bottom of my feet were continuous blisters at the end.Jan 8, 2010 at 11:55 am #1560822
Barry PBPL Member
@barrypLocale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Your feet and body really get a work out on sand. The feet will get hot.
Even though I go 15-20 miles/day, I drop to 10-12 miles/day in sand.
I use my any-situation footwear (30F – 120F, rain, snow, shine, slick, scree): Teva TeraFi2 (now ‘3’ which I haven’t tried).
I use a sock and keep my sandal cinched tight. This minimizes abrasion, hot spots, and sand from collecting under the foot. Some people use no sock but also have some pretty tough feet.
If you don’t want your feet to burn up in high-heat sand situations, I don’t know anything better than sandals. Likewise, on sand at 30F, a wool sock and sandal feels rather liberating for me compared to a boot or shoe.
Disclaimer: I wish Teva paid me.Jan 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm #1560874
Franco DarioliBPL Member
On hard sand I keep my runners/mids on, on soft sand I take them off and walk barefooted. However my experience is limited to the occasional stretch on the beach between the trails, ie up to 2-3 miles.
All day on sand I would consider the Tevas , but as unfashionable as it seems WITH socks. On a few occasion I got the most amazing blisters /bleeding from them . The first time because I did not know any better, the next two or three times because I though that I had built up some hard skin in the appropriate places…
FrancoJan 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm #1560882
I really don't do anything special for lots of sand. Usually wearing the footwear that currently in favor with me.
If you are talking about sand in places other than a beach, I normally wear cross country racing flats or my normal trail runners. With the dust and sand your feet and socks will get dirty, dirty, dirty. If I were hiking along the ocean, I would probably just go barefooted with my shoes tied to the pack, assuming that I would need them later.
Most sandals weigh more than light trail runners, and I don't find them comfortable for long hikes.
Five Fingers are an option, but your feet will get very dirty too and they are heavier than cross country racing flats.
I recently did a 4 day trip through the desert with some cold weather. I wore Salamon SA Comp 4 GTX Gortex and they really worked well. Nothing got inside, except for an ocassional pebble from around my ankle. They weren't hot and they kept my feet and socks very clean. Plus they weigh less than my Comp XA Pro 3Ds that will allow a lot of dirt to get inside.Jan 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm #1560913
I'm wearing New Balance 910s, the GoreTex lined ones, and in our So Cal desert washes, where temps are currently moderate to cold, they are brilliant. Couldn't be better. I'm using them with MLD's Event gaiters, and I didn't get a single grain of sand or pebble in my shoes. Despite the fact that the GoreTex liner is intended for water resistance, they kept all the grit out of the uppers and sides, whereas my NB 875s would have allowed fine grit in.
Funny, just this weekend I was thinking I just might have found the ultimate desert footwear combination–but I've hardly tried everything out there.
I was also wearing NB wool blend socks and very old polypro liners, with Superfeet inserts. My feet remained extremely comfortable and blister free.
As some have noted, hiking/walking/running on sand for an extended time is hard on your feet. Borrowing from off road tire awareness, the wider the sole of the shoe, the more you can 'float,' and the less you'll sink, which equals less work. Ergo, trail runners.
They are not ideal when the trail turns to bouldering, but I get by just fine. As always, everything is a compromise.Jan 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm #1560979
Live next to ( share 300 feet of border) the tallest dune on the East Coast; Jockey's Ridge and walk over it 3 or 4 times a week on a 4 mile loop. The entire OBX is sand. Also get in a few miles in the 4 corners, for ex. Comb Ridge or Grand Gulch any chance I get and agree with Nick and Pieter. Trail Runners…… Goretex keeps the sand out especially on long hauls with a light desert gaiter or a montbell schoeller gaiters.
There isn't any advantage to barefootin, and it would be downright hazardous in the Southwest. Plus it gets hot enough and you have issues with burning your feet.
Ventilated, or non-goretex trail runners with mesh uppers will get FULL of sand anywhere it's deep and soft. I'd rather wear the thinnest socks possible with a goretex trail runner than constantly pull off the shoes AND pull out the insoles… Dump sand…. walk awhile…. repeat.
If your gonna try the sandel route then better log serious miles in similar conditions first or your feet will get chewed though it can be done; Walked across Haleakala and down Kaupo in flips flops back in my mis-spent youth. Those were the days! But Chacos are so heavy and stiff!
Nice report on the Lake Mead north shore Nick! All those sheep and so close! I've ridden by the Valley of Fire a few times. Always wanted to go out to Mount Dellenbaugh. One of these days.Jan 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm #1560994
This is a great question! I don't think that I've got a good footwear system for sand.
In the southwest, on long sand (and perhaps creek) walks, I tend to prefer Chaco Z1s with socks. I use socks because otherwise I tend to be rubbed raw by the Chaco straps on long hikes. The major problem with the system is that sand often collects, and clumps if wet, under my forefoot. That's also caused raw spots and the need to stop frequently to get the sand out.
My other primary hiking footwear, ventilated trail runners, love to fill with sand. Gaiters don't help as the shoes are mesh. My Montrails are horrible in sand.Jan 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm #1561003
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
You see many athletes running in the Marathon de Sables and Gobi Challenge wearing the RaidLight Desert Mini Gaiters or gaiters of this kind, they're a full coverage gaiter, covering from above the ankle all the way down to the outsole instead of terminating around the lower ankle like most gaiter offerings. If these gaiters handle running across the Saharan desert of Morocco for 135 miles they're probably good enough for hiking. Goretex sounds like a bad option to me, especially if you are hiking in sand in any warm weather regions. GoreTex is a terrible material for footwear, or any kind of conditions where extended amounts of heat and moisture can build up. Moisture, heat and sand is a really bad combination and I don't see how Goretex is going to prevent this or blisters. GoreTex being a separate liner used in conjunction with another material seems like a sand trapping magnet, just another place for sand to accumulate. Am I off here? I'm skeptical about Goretex usage for preventing sand penetrating your shoes.
But yeah, definitely a good question.Jan 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm #1561006
I have no previous experience wit GoreTex footwear. I bought the Salamon GoreTex to experiment with snow conditions. I don't have problems with hot feet. For many years I tramped around deserts wearing traditional heavy leather boots with no ill effects.
On my trip to Nevada, I had actually planned on spending time in the Spring Mtns and hiking Mt Charleston. I did not bring my old Sherpa snowshoes, because my wife was going to buy me a pair of MSR Denali EVOs for Christmas, but she could not find them. So I did an optional trip I has prepared for. Also, my optional trip was going to be in the desert, and prior to leaving home, the extended weather forecast was for rain. So the only shoes I brought were the XA 4s.
There was no fore-thought about GoreTex keeping out sand. But after two straight days of hiking in washes and sleeping in my socks, I did not even take the socks off until late on the 3rd day. My feet were comfortable. After hiking all afternoon along the sandy shore of Lake Mead and sliding down several terraces of sand, I took my shoes and socks off to shake out the sand… just as a matter of habit, as I took a water and map break. I was really surprised to find no sand or dirt at all, and my feet were perfectly clean! So in this cooler weather, the shoes were excellent. Also, no feet problems of any sort for the entire trip. Based on this one experience with the Salamons, they were fantastic for this trip.
I know more experienced users will find all kinds of fault with GoreTex footwear. All I can discuss is my one experience.
On another note, I often use Dirty Girl Gaiters to keep the larger crap out of my shoes. But did not take any gaiters on this trip.Jan 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm #1561023
"There was no fore-thought about GoreTex keeping out sand. But after two straight days of hiking in washes and sleeping in my socks, I did not even take the socks off until late on the 3rd day."
Exactly my experience (2 days rather than three). I never removed my socks; not until I was back in my house. And I hadn't given the GoreTex any forethought in regards to keeping out sand. I just realized, a few miles in, that my feet were completely sand free, and very comfortable.
Again, this was not in hot conditions. My day time highs were low 70s, night time hiking lows in the upper 40s; sunrise low of 39; all less than 20% humidity.
I intend to stick with this combination at least until it really starts to heat up. I'll inch into the summer, and see if my feet can no longer stand the heat.
Conventional wisdom may be that GoreTex is no good on feet. But if a sample size of at least three people here is anything to go by, in this unconventional application, conventional wisdom requires an amendment.Jan 9, 2010 at 12:13 am #1561025
I disagree with that assessment of "conventional" wisdom. I've sold hiking shoes before. I'd say that 90% of the public wants "waterproof" shoes. I've spent a lot of time talking people out of them!
As for goretex for sand hiking, i agree that it can be good. If it's not too hot (and i have a quite low tolerance for heat and goretex) membrains keep sand out of the shoes much better than mesh does. My guess though is that a softshell or light all leather shoe would be better though. I've never used Inov-8 but it looks like some of their models might be pretty good for sand walking..Jan 9, 2010 at 10:56 am #1561117
I had to laugh when I saw this thread living on the Outer Banks, Eastern North America's great ribbon of sand. Over 200 miles north to south, Evidently about a mile deep
(can't personally verify that!)
The dune in the "back yard" is @ 100 feet tall, stretches for miles before becoming vegetated and after a few more miles emerges again as a "dune" at run hill, called south hill by the Wright brothers and one of their glider flying locations. Just north of which is the Kill Devil Hill and the birthplace of powered flight.
Course that said (gotta put in a plug for the area!)I won't claim to know the best solution to walking in sand. I'm old enough to know that I don't know if you know what I mean!
I've also thought that a light gaiter extending to the rand would be a better solution than goretex. I'd never found any before and have to thank Eugene for the reference to the raidlight. After googling the raidlight gaiters I would
have say they appear to be, as the British would say; "Brilliant!"
As for Goretex trail runners I can say the following with some assurance.
1. Sand doesn't collect in the shoe between the outer surface and the goretex liner that I can detect. I'm not sure how the goretex liner is contructed into the shoe.
2. Any sort of gaiter, and I regularly wear them as my feet are regularly submerged in deep sand above the tops of the shoes; will lead to warmer feet in warmer conditions.
3. I wear my goretex salomon XA pro 3-ds all year round but in summer they are noticeably warmer! Sand temps on a 85 to 90 degree day on the Dunes can reach 125 to 130 F. Once the temps get to @ 70 I find myself more inclined to reach for the XA pros w/out the gtx!
4. OTOH I have worn the gtx very comfortably at temps 70 and below and all over the southwest in like conditions.
I'm going to order up some of those raidlights! If I don't like 'em maybe I can sell them to Douglas Ide ;) Meantime a few photos for your entertainment.
Moonrise over Dune
Run Hill called South Hill by Wright Brothers
Dune flowing into pond with Beeches at edge of Woods
Nags Head Woods Sunset
Circus SunsetJan 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm #1561141
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I looked into getting those Raidlight gaiters a while back. I found that there are 2 different kinds pictured online. I think the latest ones have a neoprene or rubber strap under the foot. The older ones have 2 cords. The newer ones look more durable. I never got them in the end, so i can't comment on their performance.Jan 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm #1561143
has anyone tried Dirty Girl Gaiters?Jan 9, 2010 at 7:32 pm #1561236
I've had five or six pairs of dirty girls. I'm a fan, and wish that she made some out of more durable fabric. Also, because you need velcro on your heel, not all shoes work well with them. If you want to try them, i recommend putting the velcro on brand new shoes and letting it cure for at least 24hrs before trying the gaiter out. Anyone have any experience using other glue to keep the velcro on? I assume that crazy glue or seam grip would work really well.Jan 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm #1561249
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
I've used them a lot and like them in particular circumstances. They are not very good at keeping lots of sand out of your shoe, but I wear mesh trail runners everywhere, so this isn't a big deal to me. (The design does not allow for a really really tight seal around the shoe.) They are great for trail running, pebbles, dirt, sticks, scree, light snow, and the like.
For adhesiveness, I've had great luck with this two part adhesive you can find at the hardware store. It comes with a preparation stick that you put on the surface first to increase tackiness. Wish I knew the name of it now, but should be able to find what I'm talking about pretty easily.
Have fun!Jan 9, 2010 at 8:35 pm #1561252
Sweet Nate. Thanks for the tip on adhesive. Do you also wear holes in the inner side of the gaiters?Jan 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm #1561267
Denis HazlewoodBPL Member
@redleaderLocale: LuxuryLite Luke on the Llano Azul
My choice for hiking in sand is the Brasher Supalite. No sand in my socks… ever. I sometimes wear them for hiking in cold wet weather.Jan 10, 2010 at 7:52 am #1561317
Nate and Jack- this may be a solution for adhesive and holding the DG gaiters in place
I'm going to give the DG gaiters a try on an upcoming 50 mile hike in FL next month. I'll be wearing the same shoe I always wear, Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX, socks SmartWool PhD's.Jan 10, 2010 at 9:10 am #1561335
JJ that combo ought to work well. You hiking the forest around Ocala or the panhandle Appalachicola or somewhere else?
On another note as I've researched the complete coverage gaiter with the edge attached around the rand I'm having second thoughts; plus at @ 30 lbs Sterling plus shipping to the US I think the gtx trail runners will work well enough.
The crux of the problem seems to be that most gaiters dont cover the portion of the shoe in a mesh trail runner on the top of the foot just below the tongue and the laces. I'm not sure that a full seal all the way round the rand doesn't create more problems than it solves like glue failure and damage to the gaiter and sealing system around the rand' and is overkill unless you're extensively wading through sand above the shoe.
It's the same problem I was struggling with when I made up a pair of tyvec gaiters from tyvec "chemical" booties back late summer except in that case I was trying to keep dew and brushed off water from seriously wetting socks through the same mesh on the shoe top.
There has to be a better idea for covering the mesh top portion of trail runners for both wet and sandy conditions and it's not like this is a totally rare, random and isolated issue. Nearly all widely marketed gaiters in the US do not cover this portion of a trail runner and it is frequently a problem.
It appears the Europeans with their desert races have applied quite a bit of attention to the problem regarding sand and I suppose heat.
The Buncup site in Britain had this interesting article on Making your own:Jan 10, 2010 at 9:35 am #1561340
obxcola- I'll be hiking the Panhandle section across Eglin AFB with a couple of friends, Then I'll continue on to FT Pickens, that section is where I expect loose powdery sand.Jan 10, 2010 at 11:32 am #1561390
I don't feel that gaiters are really necessary with the Salamon shoes. They are a little higher in the ankle area, compared to other shoes I wear. They also have a band of insulation around this area, which hugs the ankle. With these shoes, most debris is kept out, except for an occassional pebble. When wearing lighter shoes than the Salamons, such as racing flats, I do use the Dirty Girl Gaiters. BTW, you can get them is subdued solid tan color, rather than the gaudy psycidellic patterns.Jan 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm #1561422
Nick- it's those funky colors that makes them cool :~)Jan 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm #1561464
JJ, Fort Pickens is a pretty spot. Nice live oaks as I recall. Watch out for thieving raccoons. ( one stole our chicken right off the picnic table when we were about 20 feet away. I guess we were thinking how cute a sorta tame raccoon and next thing we knew the coon had the some of the chicken and was up a tree. Live and Learn
Being very agreeable agree with Nick on quite likely not needing the gaiters and with you on the fun funky colors and patterns of the dirty girls.
Hiking across Eglin looks well……… where's the trail?
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